Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

# 20 Romance in Real Life--Jennie Sophia Willey and John Wesley Hannah

John Wesley and Jennie Sophia (Willey) Hannah and their children

If you just looked at the marriage record from Missouri for my great grandparents, John Wesley Hannah, (See blog # 5--Build Me a Palace) and Jennie Sophia Willey, you would see that they were married on December 18, 1866 in Butler Missouri by George W. Chandler, a minister from Rich Hill.  However, if you read the account of their wedding in the Butler Daily Democrat, you would see that this was not a routine marriage.  In fact the headline is “Romance in Real Life."

Jennie Sophia Willey had come to Butler in 1866 to visit her brother and was courted by John Hannah. However, on December 17, she was to return to Indiana under the supervision of Captain E. P., the land agent and a resident of Butler.  As luck would have it, the stage did not arrive.  

     I seriously thought about writing my own account of their marriage based on the article.  However, after some thought, I came to the conclusion that a great many of the details and nuiances would be lost.  Hence I scanned the article and here it is:

Jennie and John Wesley Hannah were married for 26 years and raised five children. I would really like to be able to talk to them about their wedding.  I would like to know how much of the article is true, how the families reacted when they heard about the wedding, and, if  Captain E. P. had not offered Jennie the land, would they have married anyway that night.  Also, I would like to know what Jennie did with that land?

What would you like to know?  Put your questions in the comments section.

DeArmond, J. K. (1990)   Mike's Story. n,p.

Since I did this blog I found the following article in the Butler Missouri paper about their 25th anniversary party:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#19 Gertrude Richards--Who Are These People?

I love to look at old pictures, which is a good thing because over the years I have acquired a lot of them.  One group of pictures that I like is of my grandmother, Gertrude Richards.  I remember her as an adult and I have pictures of her then, but my favorites are of those when she was much younger.  So I thought this week I would use some of them for my blog.

 I do not know when or where this picture was taken.  I am not even really sure which one is my grandmother or who the other girls are The picture is posed and they seemed to be dressed up.  I love their hats and coats.  Some are wearing long skirts, but the little girl in the first row on the far right has a shorter skirt paired with stockings.  Given how the styles have changed it is hard to imagine, wearing all that clothing.

Here is another group photograph. It is posed in front of a painted backdrop.  I am not sure how many of these young woman were in the first picture, but this group looks more like teenagers.  This time they have two adult women with them.  That makes me wonder if the girls were off on some kind of excursion.  Again they all have hats.  This time I can identify my grandmother, she is the first one of the left in the first row.  She seems to be the youngest one there.

This picture was taken much later and again is another posed group picture. In this one my grandmother is the second one from the right. Again I do not know where it was taken—they are grouped on the steps of a porch.  Since my grandmother lived in the city, I suspect this may have been taken on a trip.  What I like best are their hats—kind of like flying saucers decorated with flowers.

If I could talk to my grandmother, I would ask for each picture where and when it was taken and who the people were in the pictures.  One thing I have learned and try to do with the pictures I take of people is to label them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#18--Sarah Hannah—Farming on her Own

Regardless of the fact that 50% of a person’s ancestors are women, if you look at who is written about in genealogy most of them are men.  Women are often referred to as the “hidden ancestor.”  In part that is due to the fact that women take on their husband’s names and are difficult to trace, were often forbidden by law to own property, make wills, etc., and generally did not write articles or books about genealogy.  So I thought I would focus a blog or two over the next couple of weeks about women in my genealogy.  Although I do not know much about them, what I do know, I find interesting.

Sarah Ann Hannah, my great, great aunt, certainly falls in the category of being interesting.  She was born in Ross Township, Edgar County, Illinois, on February 17, 1823, to John M. and Charity (Mears) Hannah.  She married John Mitchell in 1843.  They had five sons:  John Hannah, Chandler, George, Francis Marion, and Joseph Ensign.  In the 1850 census, in Ross Township, Edgar County, Illinois, John is described as a farmer.  In 1857 John died.

Typically in that time period, when a woman became a widow, she remarried, often marrying a widower.  However, Sarah did not do that.  From 1857 until at least 1880, Sarah continued to run the farm in Ross Township.  The United States Non-Population Schedule contains information about the farm that Sarah ran.  In 1860 her farm consisted of 80 improved and 32 unimproved acres, valued at $2000.  The farm equipment was worth $100.  Sarah owned the following livestock:  5 horses, 3 milch cows, 1 other cattle, 24 sheep, and 12 swine for a value of $570.  The farm produced 1500 bushels of Indian corn, 86 pounds of wool, and 100 pounds of butter.     Farming continued as the 1870 lists her sons, Chandler and George,  as farmers and living with her.  Sarah is also listed in the 1880 census as running a farm.  Unfortunately, the Agricultural Schedule on line is unreadable so it is not possible to know any details about the farm at that time.  I do not know at what point Sarah sold the farm and to whom.  However, a 1910 map of Ross Township shows Chandler Mitchell as owning most of the same land that a 1870 map of the township shows as belonging to the Mitchell heirs.

Sarah remained a widow until 1895 at which time, at the age of 72, she married Samuel McCampbell. Sarah died on February 24, 1906 in Chrisman, Edgar Co., IL.  I would really like to be able to talk to Sarah.

 I would ask why she decided to run the farm, what kind of help did she have to run it, who she sold or gave it to?  I would also like to know how the other farmers and their wives treated her.  Did they think it was unusual or inappropriate for her to farm?

What would you ask her?  Put questions in the comments section.

Monday, June 2, 2014

#17—Gertrude Richards –Saying “I Do”

Gertrude Richards

         June is the month of weddings so it seems appropriate to have at least one blog that features brides and their weddings.  Now I knew that my grandparents, Gertrude Richards and William D. Hannah were married  in 1902.   What I did not know were the details.

I had discovered that The PostCard has digitized and searchable copies of a number of newspapers from New York.  I decided to see what that site might have on my grandfather, William D. Hannah.  So you can imagine my delight when I found this announcement of their wedding from the Daily Standard Union: 

 Brooklyn, December 4, 1902.   
Standard Union:  Brooklyn, December 4, 1902. 
The marriage of Miss Gertrude Richards to William D. Hannah, of Auburn.
N Y . took place last night at the home of the bride's parents,  Mr. and Mrs.
Abiathar Richards, 124 Fort Greene Place. Miss Richards wore a beautiful
costume of white chiffon trimmed with repousse applique lace.  She was attended
by the groom's sister. Miss Hannah, as maid of honor. The bride’s brother. William F. Richards acted as best man. The parlors, where the ceremony occurred, were beautifully decorated with chrysanthemums, palms and trailing ivy. Promptly at 7:30 o'clock the
principals, surrounded by their friends and relatives, took their places under a floral
canopy, where the ceremony was per formed by Rev. Dr. Charles W. Homer of St. James Church. A wedding reception and collation followed. Mr. and Mr. Hannah then took a carriage to the station.   After a short wedding tour in the South, the Hannahs will return to Auburn, the groom's home, where they will begin housekeeping.

Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. Chester R. Ingersoll  Richards, Mrs. D. B. Dearborn,  D. B. Dearborn, Jr., Mrs. George F. Lewis, H. Lewis, Miss Lewis, Frank Morse,  Miss Morse, Mr. and Mrs. Irving Fisher,  Dr. Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel
Fisher, Miss Edith Downey, John Downey, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. William Washburn.

I would love to more about that wedding.  If I could, I would ask for more information about her dress as well as what did the groom and bridesmaid were.  Also, what did you have to eat and drink?  Was there a cake?  Where in the South, did you go for your wedding trip?